‘Capitalise on new collar job opportunities’
Published on: Friday, February 14, 2020
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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians should capitalise on new collar job opportunities to earn higher salaries and improve their long-term prospects.

In an interview with Bernama recently, Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran (pic) said new collar vocations have great potential in terms of income and future prospects.

“Take plumbing as an example. We tend to view it as a low-class job but these days, we have to make an appointment with them (in case a plumber’s services is needed). This is because plumbing is a very specialised field.

“And recently, I met a journalist who is in his 30s and who is taking up a part-time course to become a chargeman due to his interest in that field. He would work during the day and study at night. He told me he could earn more as a chargeman,” he related.

In an article titled New-Collar Workers – Who Are They And How Are They Contributing To Our Labor Shortage? in the January 2019 edition of Forbes magazine, the writer Scholley Bubenik defined new collar worker as an “individual who develops the technical and soft skills needed to work in technology jobs through non-traditional education paths”.

New collar workers, wrote Bubenik, do not have a four-year degree from a college. “Instead, the new collar worker is trained through community colleges, vocational schools, software boot camps, technical certification programs, high school technical education and on-the-job apprentices and internships.”

Malaysia is currently focusing on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes to equip its human capital with the necessary technical and vocational skills. It is imperative that Malaysia increases its skilled workforce because it is projected that 60 percent of jobs created under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) will require human capital with technical and vocational skills.

Currently, Malaysia’s skilled workforce stands at 28 percent, whereas advanced nations like Germany’s has reached 51 per cent.

Under the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 launched by the government last October, the nation hopes to raise its skilled workforce to 35 percent in 10 years.

Said Kula Segaran: “We must take note of what the ILO (International Labour Organisation) has said... it said 15 years from now, there is a great possibility that 15 to 30 per cent of courses currently offered by universities may not be needed in the employment sector.

“However, the interesting thing is that the ILO has guaranteed that TVET courses will (continue) to remain relevant.”

The minister also reiterated the importance of skilling, upskilling, reskilling and cross-skilling, pointing out that today’s job landscape allowed employees to enhance their value by acquiring skills, improving their existing skills, learning new skills and mastering skills across fields.

He said the four processes would be among the areas of focus under SPV 2030 and it is expected to benefit some 15 million workers who wish to add value to their employability.

According to Kula Segaran, 96 percent of students graduating from skills training institutes are offered jobs soon after completing their studies. In fact, they often get multiple job offers.

Workers who go for further training to improve their skills are also highly employable and face better mobility in the job market.

The minister also urged Malaysians wishing to pursue TVET courses to treat the Manpower Department’s Industrial Training Institutes (ILP) as their institute of choice. 

“These institutes are not only located in Kuala Lumpur but also in other towns such as Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Skudai, Ipoh, Taiping, Penang, Tawau and Sandakan. What is more, these areas have their own industrial networks,” he said, adding that the ILP students are fully sponsored by the government and are even given hostel facilities. – Bernama



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